Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
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30-11-2012, 04:27 AM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
(27-11-2012 07:38 PM)tiagorod84 Wrote:  Hold on, I'm not a wacko! Wink I'm a biologist and I work with evolution on a daily basis. Here's the argument:

Natural selection was capable to generate a species able to rationalize the world at an extent beyond any other living organism - Homo sapiens.

This species, using the scientific method, generated sufficient knowledge to effectively alter its own genetic traits. Indeed, in a few years, it will be possible to apply genetic therapy in a very large scale.

Therefore, I think that Homo sapiens will be evolving in a way that is more proximate to neo-lamarckism, than to neo-darwinism.

(I know that normally we exclude ourselves from nature. But the reality is that our species is turning the 'blind watchmaker' in a Mr. Magoo)

What's your opinon?


I tend to disagree with you as far as ours being the only species able to rationalize the world the way we do. How you rationalize something depends on your perspective. I feel that apes that know how to communicate with humans using sign language will definately not see the world the same as the apes that have not been taught that. Likewise parrots (I am mostly referring african greys) learn an amazing amount of the human language and how to use it. There was a 30 year long study involving an african grey named Alex. The scientist involved taught him incredible things and he taught her many things as well. One story I recall about alex was the time that he started saying "Want banerry.". You and I know that it is not an actual word, but it shows that he was able to do something that we previously thought only humans could do. What he was really asking for was an apple, as it looks a bit like a giant cherry and tastes a bit like a banana. He also was able to show her that he had a concept for zero or nothing, and I have to add that he tricked her into asking him. Would a wild african grey see things the way he did, I doubt it. Just like I see huge problems with the rich ceo's doing what they do. Not paying a living wage, making obsene profits, and treating employees like parts of a machine to be used up and tossed away instead of maintained. They see nothing wrong with it, because their profits would be a bit lower by offering more money and benefits. I am poor so I want more money and benefits. If I were obsenely rich, I would probably see the world differently. You need to take into account every belief system out there, amount of people that see the world each popular way, and which groups have the most power. For instance the races considered minorities are outbreeding white people on a massive scale in most situations. It is in my opinion that white people will be a minority soon if we are not already. Likewise christianity will be a minority soon as well and the muslims will become the majority in the next 20 years if not less. Then the world will probably become a muslim theocracy.
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30-11-2012, 04:33 AM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
Isn't what you're describing just an advanced human focused form of "selective breeding" as done with domesticating animals for thousands of years?

It really is just Eugenics... why create a different name when it has one? ooh is it because the name carries a bad vibe to many people these days. It's not like there's any other term that fits perfectly people are doing that with these days... nope!

"Love is hot, Truth is molten!"
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30-11-2012, 07:06 AM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
(30-11-2012 04:33 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Isn't what you're describing just an advanced human focused form of "selective breeding" as done with domesticating animals for thousands of years?

It really is just Eugenics... why create a different name when it has one? ooh is it because the name carries a bad vibe to many people these days. It's not like there's any other term that fits perfectly people are doing that with these days... nope!
The framework of my claim was biological, not social. Moreover, genetic therapy is not selective breeding, it is a form of directly alter the genome.

I'll rephrase the question: from a biological point of view, do you think that genetic therapy could account as a new evolution force?
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30-11-2012, 07:19 AM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
Given that restated question, I'd have to go for a "no"... unless you count it as another form of selective breeding... but without the fun of the breeding.

A single action is worth more than the words it takes to describe it.
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30-11-2012, 08:49 AM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
(30-11-2012 07:19 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  Given that restated question, I'd have to go for a "no"... unless you count it as another form of selective breeding... but without the fun of the breeding.
Ok. Let me give you a counter argument.

I think that we can agree that in the core of evolution there are 4 main concepts: random mutation, genetic trnasmissibility, natural selection and differential reproduction.

Genetic therapy will add another concept to the equation of human evolution: random mutation, directed mutation, genetic transmissibility, natural selection and differential reproduction.

Would you agree on this proposition?

When I talk about lamarckism, I'm referring to directed mutation.
In a previous post in this thread I've presented a theoretical case that illustrates how could this be true.
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30-11-2012, 12:58 PM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
Lamarckianism does in a sense exist it's called epigenetics. It is in the methylated of DNA sequences that cause them to be more (or less) translated during someone existance. The methyls are placed there by environmental factors. Such as smoking or being overweight. These methyl sequence is then fowarded to the next generation. If this generation continues the same path that methyl on that particular sequence (second generation smoking) then more (or less) methyls are placed on that sequence and so on and so forth...

Look it's very confusing but it's true....just been outta university for too long
This is an existing area of molecular biology at the moment.

Wiki article
" Examples of such modifications are DNA methylation and histone modification, both of which serve to regulate gene expression without altering the underlying DNA sequence. These changes may remain through cell divisions for the remainder of the cell's life and may also last for multiple generations. However, there is no change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism;[1] instead, non-genetic factors cause the organism's genes to behave (or "express themselves") differently.[2] There are objections to the use of the term epigenetic to describe chemical modification of histone since it remains unknown whether or not these modifications are heritable.[3]One example of epigenetic changes in eukaryotic biology is the process of cellular differentiation. During morphogenesis, totipotent stem cells become the various pluripotent cell lines of the embryo, which in turn become fully differentiated cells. In other words, a single fertilized egg cell – the zygote – changes into the many cell types including neurons,muscle cells, epithelium, endothelium of blood vessels, etc. as it continues to divide. It does so by activating some genes while inhibiting others.[4]
In 2011, it was demonstrated that the methylation of mRNA has a critical role in human energy homeostasis. The obesity associated FTO gene is shown to be able to demethylateN6-methyladenosine in RNA. This opened the related field of RNA epigenetics.[5][6]"


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30-11-2012, 01:26 PM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
(30-11-2012 12:58 PM)marieV Wrote:  Lamarckianism does in a sense exist it's called epigenetics. It is in the methylated of DNA sequences that cause them to be more (or less) translated during someone existance. The methyls are placed there by environmental factors. Such as smoking or being overweight. These methyl sequence is then fowarded to the next generation. If this generation continues the same path that methyl on that particular sequence (second generation smoking) then more (or less) methyls are placed on that sequence and so on and so forth...

Look it's very confusing but it's true....just been outta university for too long
This is an existing area of molecular biology at the moment.

I don't know if I would call epigenetics lamarckian. Maybe partially lamarckian... On one hand the environmental alterations on epigenetics are blind. By this I mean that it does not target the gene(s) directly related with the response to an environmental stress, per example. On the other hand, if the organism does not possess erase systems, those modifications can actually be inherited.

I would say that the modern synthesis may also apply to epigenetic modifications, in a sense that they're occurence is blind and transmissible.

One should not forget that, per example, methylations are catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases, which are encoded by genes. Therefore, epigenetics are a consequence of a gene-centric evolution. In other words the gene-centric evolution was able to generate another layer of complexity to evolution.
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30-11-2012, 07:11 PM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
Hey, Tia.

Soooooo, are you just talking about genetic engineering?

Controlled evolution makes no sense to me. Evolution is evolution. It's just the map of changes that HAVE occurred. Whether selection occurred as the result of so-called natural processes, or whether selection occurred as the result of a deliberate intervention (genetic engineering, gene therapy, selective breeding, mayor West rolling around in toxic waste), it's still selection. It's still all about fitness, adaption and maladaption.

And as far as gene therapy goes... what's wrong with calling it gene therapy?

Eugenics is more than just making deliberate changes. It's way more insidious than that. I don't see that it has anything at all to do with this conversation.

As for mutation, I don't think that one can say directed mutation. Mutations are accidental. It's a matter of engineering or design. If my wax figure melts in the sun, that's a mutation. If I cut it in half with an Exacto, that's a deliberate alteration.

Anyhoo, genetic engineering, to me, is what blows Lamarck out of the water. I see a phenotype I like, or I imagine a phenotype I like, I go back to the genome and alter it. Poof, the product has altered the code. This Weismann/Lamarck business is a distraction.

Quote:I'll rephrase the question: from a biological point of view, do you
think that genetic therapy could account as a new evolution force?

No. It's nothing more than a selection pressure (maybe there's a better term than that, but I figure you know what I mean. I've always thought of pressure to mean something that influences selection).

For example, I have a small dog. I want a bigger dog. I mate my dog with a bigger dog. That's not a new evolutionary force, that's selection at work. It that specific context, that specific environment, "big dog" traits are adaptive.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-11-2012, 07:33 PM (This post was last modified: 30-11-2012 07:41 PM by tiagorod84.)
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
(30-11-2012 07:11 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Tia.

Soooooo, are you just talking about genetic engineering?

Controlled evolution makes no sense to me. Evolution is evolution. It's just the map of changes that HAVE occurred. Whether selection occurred as the result of so-called natural processes, or whether selection occurred as the result of a deliberate intervention (genetic engineering, gene therapy, selective breeding, mayor West rolling around in toxic waste), it's still selection. It's still all about fitness, adaption and maladaption.

And as far as gene therapy goes... what's wrong with calling it gene therapy?

Eugenics is more than just making deliberate changes. It's way more insidious than that. I don't see that it has anything at all to do with this conversation.

As for mutation, I don't think that one can say directed mutation. Mutations are accidental. It's a matter of engineering or design. If my wax figure melts in the sun, that's a mutation. If I cut it in half with an Exacto, that's a deliberate alteration.

Anyhoo, genetic engineering, to me, is what blows Lamarck out of the water. I see a phenotype I like, or I imagine a phenotype I like, I go back to the genome and alter it. Poof, the product has altered the code. This Weismann/Lamarck business is a distraction.

Quote:I'll rephrase the question: from a biological point of view, do you
think that genetic therapy could account as a new evolution force?

No. It's nothing more than a selection pressure (maybe there's a better term than that, but I figure you know what I mean. I've always thought of pressure to mean something that influences selection).

For example, I have a small dog. I want a bigger dog. I mate my dog with a bigger dog. That's not a new evolutionary force, that's selection at work. It that specific context, that specific environment, "big dog" traits are adaptive.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
I actually disagree on that. Mutation is not, by definition, random or accidental. In fact, 'directed mutation' is a term used in papers where the codon for a specific amino acid is modified, in order to assess the importance of that amino acid residue in the function of the protein.

My main idea behind this provocation was simply this: the "blind watchmaker" may become a "Mr. Magoo watchmaker" with the progress on gene therapy, or whatever you want to call it.
What I like in this idea is that a mechanical process was able to produce self-aware organisms that can change one of the basis of that mechanical process.


Of course that the final judge would be the selective force operating on the mutations. But, wouldn't you agree that random vs directed mutations have different evolutionary dynamics?

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30-11-2012, 08:38 PM
RE: Neo lamarckism: Give it a chance...
Hey, Tia.

Well, you're the biologist, so I'm willing to defer to you in terms of what is the accepted industry jargon. Although I personally think that the idea of directed mutation stems from a frame that I think is problematic.

At the end of the day, we both know what is being discussed: the deliberate alteration of a genome by a human hand.

Quote:My main idea behind this provocation was simply this: the "blind
watchmaker" may become a "Mr. Magoo watchmaker" with the progress on
gene therapy, or whatever you want to call it.

What I like in this idea is that a mechanical process was able to
produce self-aware organisms that can change one of the basis of that
mechanical process.

Sorry, but I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about lol. Could you try again and use small words. I'm from Canada and they think I'm slow eh Cool

Quote:But, wouldn't you agree that random vs directed mutations have different evolutionary dynamics?

Well, different sure, but like, not so different that they're entirely different processes.

Random mutation can occur for any number of reasons (both with genes and memes). The mutation has an effect on the phenotype, either changing it slightly, or in some cases, making it not viable (like a mutation that means you're born without a heart for example). But selection occurs at the level of the phenotype. So it's irrelevant to selection HOW the mutation occurred. Selection only cares THAT the mutation occurred.

The natural in natural selection, to me, is unnecessary (mostly because of the connotative meaning of natural). It evokes some flowery image of rose petals and deer frolicking in the glen. Selection is simply selection. A phenotype's traits either increase it's odds of survival and reproduction, or decrease them; adaptivity vs maladaptivity. If a trait is adaptive because it helps you elude hawks, or because the scientist in the lab is intrigued, or because Paris Hilton thinks you're cute, selection doesn't give a shit. A breeder choosing to use you as a stud, a female peacock loving your feathers, a scientist altering your genome, a doctor curing your sickle cell, it's all just selecting for adaptive traits or against maladaptive traits.

So whether squirrels are humping or Monsanto is engineering corn, the evolutionary process that Darwin outlined is always the exact same process. Mutation, variation, inheritance (I actually prefer transmission), selection.

So yeah, gene therapy is just a method of altering genes to try and get the phenotype we want. It's not a new evolutionary force, it's just another way in which mutation occurs (truth be told, there could be another billion ways out there in the vast universe). If it works, then we're the selection pressure. But it's just regular ol' selection that's occurring.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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